For all that, he still struggles to shake the fear that he will one day be rumbled, found out, exposed as the hubristic kid who told tall tales. “I still feel as though I’m faking it, but maybe that never goes away,” he admits, sitting outside in inclement weather by the authors’ tent. “I’m sure I disappoint my students on a daily basis. They expect me to talk about great books and big ideas, whereas a lot of the time I want to talk about baseball. My banalities are always alarmingly exposed.”
While I’m in no way intending to put myself anywhere near Wolff on an achievement level, I can really agree with his statement about faking it. Every single time I sit down to write, I feel like I’m winging it. From all the research I do to watching all the reviews come in, it still doesn’t feel real. Those poor Amazon reviews seem like a plot to expose me by those who know the Truth.
Before I was published I thought I was kidding myself, but I got lucky. Ever since the day my book came out, I felt a that someone’s going to find me out. I got my head down and put some more words onto the paper and kept on faking it all to hit that deadline. When I send that book off to my editor, I worry I’ll get the reply that to say they’ve finally worked out I’m some kind of literary fraudster. For any unpublished writers out there, the doubts will never go away, so get used to them.
What’s comforting about it is the realisation more of us are frauds than we believe. There’s solidarity to be found, brothers and sisters, even with the greats of literature.